#RPGaDAY2015 – Day 26: Favorite Inspiration for Your Game


There are many sources of inspiration, and today at #RPGaDAY2015  I trying to narrow down my sources of inspiration, and that is not easy. Ideas to roleplaying scenarios, houserules and such like comes from many places, and sometime they are a good idea, that one steal, and sometime they are part of challenge, where one try to do better than the original concept and sometimes it is just a homage.

Day 26 – Favorite Inspiration for Your Game

Many things inspire my roleplaying games, but most often it is not roleplaying games themselves. Most setting guides and descriptions bore me – I do love the D&D setting Mystara and the science fiction/science fantasy setting of Fading Suns as well as Nephilim, Whispering Vault and Blue Planet – but mostly my inspiration comes from novels, graphic novels, movies, tv-series and history books.

Often I find inspiration in history books on the antiquity and the European middle ages. I have growing collection of books on the subjecs mostly focusing on the cultural history. In these are tidbits and ideas, strange notions and images from long forgotten worlds, that are just a few hundred or thousand years distant and still just next door, when you step out the door and visit the local barrow or ruined castle.

I do like me some science fiction, weird fiction and oldschool fantasy stories (I mostly read my fantasy from before Tolkien sort of shaped how everybody else writes their fiction, for instance Lord Dunsany, Ursula LeGuin, Clark Ashton-Smith and Robert E. Howard), and often science fiction stories inspire me (oh, to create a world like Herbert’s Dune).

From the comic Voorbij de steen (Beyond the Stone) about a dwarven community threatehed by a goblin army.

Not only novels but also graphic novels inspire me – and here comes the advantage of being a European, since the comic/graphic novel market in English is quite limited and small. It often feels like 90% of all English language comics are mere superhero comics, and though entertaining they are just a small area of the surface of comics (it is as if 90% of all Hollywood movies were Westerns, they may be great, but we would be missing a lot other stories), and many of the adventure, science fiction, fantasy and science fantasy stories, that I grew up with and took for granted, have only recently (i.e. within the last 10 years, but often they are 40 years old!) been published in the UK or in the States and many others have never been published in English at all or only in part. Instead they are available in French, German, Dutch, Danish and so on.

So among the many graphic novels/comic books, that inspire me are Valérian and Laureline, Prince des étoiles, Douwe Dabbert, Kronos, Yoko Tsuno, Franka, Orbital, NatachaBob Morane, Wake, Gipsy, Voobij de Steen, Spirou, Storm, Lanfeust of Troy, Legends of Percevan, Quest for the Time Bird, and Légendes des Contrées Oubliées to name a few.

Quest for the Time Bird
Quest for the Time Bird

That was a bit of a digression, but growing up with these comics and then discovering that they are more or less non-existing in the English language was a bit of a surprise.

Finally movies and tv-shows including animated movies and animes are an inspiration. Too many to mention here, but I will do one exception and that is Babylon 5, which not just inspired me for its setting and specific stories but also in the way that it created a longrunning continuous story, that kept calling back to its former episodes, rather than creating a series of oneshot episodes.

I don’t have a favorite inspiration. I just have a lot.

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